Lion, MacBook Air Refresh Will Spike Mac Sales
According to the latest sales data gathered by NPD, the Mac is indeed kicking ass, as Phil Schiller Apple’s SVP of Worldwide Product Marketing observed at the company’s annual World Wide Developers Conference earlier this month. And when it’s finally reported, Mac sales for Apple’s June quarter will likely clock in well ahead of those of PCs.
Through the first two months of Apple’s third quarter (April and May), domestic Mac sales rose 15 percent year over year, a significant jump over April alone, during which they rose just 9 percent. That bodes well for June, says Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster, who notes that an easy comp for the month — sales rose 11 percent in 2010 — should make a nice year-over-year gain pretty easy.
And if the company happens to bring those rumored new Sandy Bridge-based MacBook Airs to market sometime this month, well, then it’s a different story entirely.
Another refresh of the Air will likely send sales into the stratosphere, just as it did last October. In fact, Deutsche Bank’s Chris Whitmore figures it could cause units to ramp to as high as 1.5 million per quarter, which is about half of Apple’s MacBook business. Add the impending release of OS X Lion to this mix and Mac sales should rise even more, since OS refreshes have historically bolstered demand and accelerated sales.
“Past OS upgrades have resulted in average Mac unit growth of ~30 percent in the 2-3 quarters following the release,” Whitmore says. “In addition, in terms of broad feature set enhancements we believe the Lion upgrade most parallels Leopard which saw ~45 percent Y/Y Mac growth following the release and +81 percent Y/Y Software growth. In aggregate, we believe Lion will drive a strong upgrade cycle due to: 1) low ASP, 2) significant OS enhancements and 3) arrives in conjunction with MacBook Air refresh.”